Residents Protest After Animal Shelter Euthanizes Dog Via Gas Chamber | News, Sports, Jobs

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Protesters stand outside the Pleasant Grove Police Department Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Ashtyn Asay, Daily Herald

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Protesters stand outside the Pleasant Grove Police Department Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Ashtyn Asay, Daily Herald

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Heather Smith holds a sign depicting Penguin the husky-mix on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Ashtyn Asay, Daily Herald

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Dogs, brought by their owners, take part in the protest outside the Pleasant Grove Police Department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Ashtyn Asay, Daily Herald

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On Thursday, protesters stood outside the Pleasant Grove Police Department, many holding signs with the image of a smiling black and white husky mix on them.

The dog, a stray named Penguin, was brought to the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter earlier this year. Like many others, Heather Smith’s mother had wanted to adopt Penguin after seeing his photo online.

“My mum had seen him online and she fell in love with him. My mum had a series of losses throughout this time, her dog just died three weeks ago, she fell in love with Penguin and she said ‘Heather can you get it for me,'” Smith said.

Smith is president of Few Steps From Home Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, located in Gladwin, Michigan. According to Smith, she had worked with local animal control officers to secure the right to remove Penguin from the shelter and arrange transportation when she learned her efforts were fruitless.

Smith discovered that Penguin had already been shot. The dog, who was previously described by shelter staff as friendly and gentle, was euthanized via gas chamber after shelter staff deemed him too aggressive to be rehomed.

“I had to tell my mom they shot him,” Smith said. “I had to tell my mom they gassed that dog to death after she lost hers.”

According to Smith, she specializes in rehabilitating and rehoming aggressive dogs and thought Penguin wouldn’t have been too difficult.

“That’s what I do,” she said. “I have been in rescue for over 20 years, but there [Tug Gettling] I didn’t think I was capable or qualified to handle animals of any kind.

According to Tug Gettling, director of NUVAS, although Penguin seemed friendly upon entering the shelter, seven potential adopters and four staff members reported that the dog became aggressive – and tried to bite or attack them – during interactions. .

“We took him out of adoption and re-evaluated him, he was extremely aggressive. He was no longer safe to be made available for adoption,” Gettling said. “We had to euthanize him. It was a sad case because we thought he was a sweet dog, but our main concern is the safety of the children and members of the community, which is why we made the decision to euthanize him.

Euthanasia by gas chamber is considered by many to be less humane than euthanasia by injection. The shelter vowed in late 2021 to stop using gas chambers for euthanasia, but the practice continued until 2022.

According to Gettling, the shelter is working to transition to euthanasia by injection, but that transition is taking time.

“In August 2021, I recommended to the board to move to euthanasia by injection, the board supported that, and then we started down that road to get there,” he said. “It takes a while, you have to get state certifications, federal certifications, training… you have to be able to get supplies and medications, those supplies are controlled substances, so there are some things that you have to respect, some suppliers that you have to pass. »

Gettling said the animal shelter hopes to have everything in place to transition to euthanasia by injection by next month, although with supply chain shortages related to COVID-19, that won’t be. a firm estimate.

The shelter has recently seen an influx of animals, so they appreciate anyone interested in adopting or donating to the shelter.

“We are grateful to everyone who helps us here, we certainly accept donations and things that help us care for the animals here,” Gettling said. “It’s interesting that those calling for change have never done business with us.


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